Any business with an online presence will understand how important content marketing has become, enabling companies to attract new visitors, form relationships, and ultimately generate more sales. But while we are all familiar with the concept of creating content – whether that’s an article, an infographic, or a video – many will be less familiar with the concept of content curation. With increasing pressure on businesses to provide a steady flow of interesting content, there is not always enough time in the day to fulfill the original content quota. Content curation fills the gap, helping business owners and marketers to grow their blogs by cherry picking the best content from other sources, and presenting that information in a different way. So, how do we explain this concept to a five year old?
Daddy, what is content curation?
Content curation is a bit like rummaging around in a toy chest, sifting through various options until you find what you’re looking for. There may be some sorting and arranging to do, and each day you will probably be drawn to something different. And while you may not have invented Dora the Explorer, Barney the Dinosaur or the yellow Teletubby, you can certainly bring the three together to create a new story that hasn’t been told before.
Content curation doesn’t mean writing new content: it involves seeking out, compiling, and sharing content that is already out there. And as we all know, sharing is important.
It’s a great tactic for busy marketers, which enables you to keep on top of your online presence and provide extra value for your customers. To build lasting relationships, we must share our discoveries. Don’t keep all the Teletubbies to yourself.
Where do I find things to share?
You know what you’re interested in, and what your playmates (customers) find interesting. There’s a lot of variety out there – re-watching Frozen, finger painting, building with Lego, making blanket forts, digging for worms, etc. Once you’ve selected your favorite things, you need to find sources to curate from, such as the craft cupboard, the linen drawer, or the shed. Sources you can trust to provide the adequate raw materials.
When it comes to business, there are just as many sources available to derive quality content from. Ideally, they should be sources that you and your customers are already familiar with, and which you know to be reliable. These might include:
- Industry blogs
- Trade publications
- Twitter lists
- Social influencers
- Scientific journals
- Feed readers
Try looking everywhere – you never know what you might find.
How do I show people what I’ve found?
Well Jimmy, you can do that in a number of ways.
A popular way to share curated content is with a weekly blog post. Another way to look at it might be ‘show and tell’, where every Friday you bring what you’ve found to class and share your thoughts with the group. Link roundups are simple to make and can be very helpful to readers, essentially finding the best of what’s out there so they don’t have to. Here’s an example of a roundup from the Huffington Post: The 25 Greatest Viral Videos Of All Time.
Another way that you can shared curated content is via an email newsletter. This can be seen as the digital equivalent of collecting together some of the best things you’ve found that week – perhaps a toy car, a Happy Meal toy, or some Pokemon memorabilia – putting them in a box and sending them to your friend. Except on a much bigger scale, to a lot of friends. And you still get to keep the toys as well. Here are 7 examples of exceptional curated emails, including a weekly new images update from Unsplash, and curated events from the CMO Council. If you can highlight your own guest content, as Influence & Co. does, then you’re onto a winner.
The last (but not least) way to share curated content is via your social media channels. Think of this as the stuff you show your friends when you’re out in the playground. And it’ll likely be a real mix of things – it might be something you’ve found one moment, like a frog or a really great conker, or it might be something you made yourself, like a daisy chain or a drawing. All are equally exciting, and it’s ok to show things that aren’t necessary your own creation. In fact, you should. Variety keeps things interesting.
A good rule of thumb for social media goes 5-3-2: that is, for every 10 posts, 5 should be content shared from others, 3 should be content from you, and 2 should be personal. Here’s more on how and why the 5-3-2 rule works.
Ah yes. A timeless and inexhaustible question.
Let us consider the modern consumer, and indeed child. They are increasingly attached to smartphones (or some other connected device). They are hyper-connected to a world of information, even while on the go, which allows them to make purchase decisions based on their own research. ‘Sales’ in the traditional sense in dying out – now you’ve got to be riding the content marketing bandwagon (or kids’ ride-on electric car) if you want to have a chance of success.
Every ecommerce business needs a blog. Look at our online business and ecommerce platforms. WordPress is tailored heavily towards blogging. Shopify has blogging software built into its system, encouraging store owners to get writing and sharing. This is a direct response to the consumer environment, which demands informative, relevant content to facilitate research. But of course, as we’ve discussed, coming up with new content every day, or every week, is not always feasible. Content curation is what helps busy brands to keep up – and the content itself is no less useful. By delivering on a regular basis, you can improve your SEO, position yourself as a thought leader, generate new leads, and have regular material for your social media pages.
Or to put it another way, you will be the child that the others like and trust, because you show yourself to be curious, clever, and sociable.
Whether you’re part of a busy marketing team, or running your own one-person operation from home, using a tool like MyCurator will make sure you are always able to deliver relevant content to your readers. All you need to do is select your preferred sources, and the content will be delivered to you via RSS feeds. When you select a piece of content to include, MyCurator pre-fills the post with editable content, saving considerable time when putting together a fully curated article. In summary, it’s like having your favorite bedtime stories – and others like them – dropping into your bookshelf every day. Just don’t keep them to yourself.
Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder
Gareth is a veteran SEO and content marketer with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He loves to share his knowledge with others online. You’ll find him working hard on growing his business and writing content.